After a year of uncertainty and instability, Aussie small businesses are finally finding their feet again. In fact, new research we conducted at Sendle found that over 95% of Aussie small businesses (SMBs) are feeling optimistic about the next 12 months. 

At Sendle, we’ve witnessed a groundswell in positivity and proactivity from Aussie small business owners as they grow their local operations and respond to changing customer needs. With initiatives such as the Federal Government’s Buy Aussie Now and Buy From The Bush gaining traction, it’s an exciting time for anyone at the forefront of Australia’s small business and retail space.  From changing consumer behaviour, eCommerce technological developments and the growth of online marketplaces, here are the top trends driving small business confidence in 2021. 

Capitalising on the growth of local demand 

COVID-19 saw demand for locally made products surge, as reported by more than half (51%) of Sendle’s SMB customers. One incredible small business, NueBar, who makes 100% Australian made naturopathic hair and body soap saw a whopping 231% increase in 2020 Christmas sales compared to the previous year. Whilst tapping into international markets may offer cheaper resources and lower rates, the sentiment surrounding local products and production can prove advantageous. Leaning on local resources, labour and processes facilitates a network of support for small business owners. Just as community support often empowers and inspires the individual, the same can be applied in a business context. Knowing you have an assortment of resources right on your doorstep can offer peace of mind to retailers navigating supply chain complexities.  A local flow of supply and demand will not only be more manageable for retailers, but ensure lower risk and greater sustainability. Tanna Draper, founder of Made For Olive, understands the importance of community values in small business and encourages owners to seek out and support those in their network. Through this you’ll also find greater confidence and resilience in withstanding unexpected changes (like COVID-19).

New developments mean new opportunities 

The accelerated rise of online shopping has seen  the introduction of new integrations and innovations across eCommerce platforms, designed specifically for retailers pivoting their operations online. From financial processes to inventory management and streamlined parcel delivery,  there has been a swell of entrepreneurs identifying and solving common eCommerce challenges, making it easier than ever for small businesses to thrive online.

  • Struggling with your promotional strategy? There’s a brand to influencer connection marketplace for that. 
  • Can’t quite get on top of your inventory management? You can bet there’s a new SaaS platform to help.  
  • Wasting too much time managing shipping and logistics across your eCommerce platforms?  Sendle integrates with eCommerce platforms like eBay, Shopify and Etsy to streamline this process. 

The most successful retailers will be those who utilise simple yet powerful  technology across all areas of their operations. McKinsey predicts that  by 2030, we’ll  see technology affecting a third of tasks in retail. 

Harnessing opportunity and optimism 

After a challenging 2020, it’s exciting to witness the shifting sentiment and growing opportunities for retailers. Whilst there are still factors at play calling for a degree of caution, retailers should expect to enjoy an upward trend of increased buying confidence, local support and innovation. But business owners shouldn’t let a return to normal stop them from taking up new disruptive trends. Crisis breeds innovation and it’s the new systems and approaches that were born from 2020 that will drive the most ambitious businesses forward. The new normal is here, and will remain a steadfast influence on the industry’s recovery. 

Eva Ross is chief marketing and customer officer at Sendle.